i was born in a little french town
in the rolling plains of northern manitoba,
near a range of low hills called, grandiosely,
“the riding mountains”.
my earliest memories are of green forests,
golden fields, blue lakes,
and four seasons that changed
the landscape of my world
from white to green, faded into red and brown,
and then white again.
the scents of the prairie seasons
lie buried deep in my brain…
the crisp clean nose-pinching smell of snow,
the long wet watery smell of spring rain,
the robust green scent of hay- wheat and flax and barley-
in high summer…
the thin icy threatening odor of the coming storms
behind the plummy ripened fruit of autumn…
deep, deep smells…
memories connected to them…
the explanation that the olfactory gland is near
the memory center of the brain
is not sufficient to say why smells make us remember,
make me remember.
this morning, all in a rush,
i was a little girl again,
standing in the newly-cut grass
and surrounded, infused
with the living, growing, waking-up smells
of a country lane at dawn.
i stood there, dogs nosing along in the grass beside me,
and let the memories come
along with the dewey hushed moonset…
long i stood.